When I started blogging, four years ago next month, I thought I was an open book. I thought the anonymity and privacy that came with having a blog I didn’t tell anyone about gave me the strength to be an open book, which in and of itself proves, I’m not an open book. I can be honest as long as no one knows it’s me? Not an open book. My family didn’t know about the blog. My coworkers didn’t know about the blog. Only my two closest friends knew about it and, ironically, neither of them could be bothered to read it.
I really was pretty open on the blog too. Probably more open than I am with my therapist to be honest. And yet, there were things I was afraid to talk about. Things I couldn’t say. In spite of my bravado, I became friends with my very small handful of regular readers and as I did, I started worrying about what they might think of what I had to say. I felt like I had to make sure that my blog was “user friendly” to these people who I liked, and who liked me, but who were pretty conservative in the things they posted on their own blogs.
About a year ago, I mentioned my blog, in passing, to someone I barely knew, but with whom I was getting to be friends. I thought she’d read a couple of passages and become bored with it like everyone else does. She devoured it; consumed every post. Then she became somewhat obsessive about it. If I’d go a couple of days without writing a post she’d blow up my cell phone with text messages, wanting to know why I hadn’t written anything and thinking that something was wrong because I must be going through another depressive phase… like she could do anything if I was. She wanted to talk, at length, about everything I posted. She never understood that once I put it on the blog page, I’m usually finished talking about it. Just leave a fucking comment and let it go. That’s all I wanted anyway is the fucking comments! I reached a point where I had to second guess everything I posted because of how she would react to it. I haven’t posted anything on my other blog in almost a month. She’s afraid it’s because I’m depressed and need to talk about it. She doesn’t understand that for the first time in four years, it’s exactly the opposite and I need to not post where people I know will find it in order to keep from getting depressed.
Several months ago, through circumstances which, to the best of my knowledge, were beyond my control, a member of my blood line who I used to acknowledge, but no longer claim as family, found my old blog and proceeded to read every post, all two and a half years, over the course of one Sunday afternoon. That blog was all about me. My life. The trials and tribulations I went through, growing up as a closeted gay kid in a conservative, charismatic Christian family; the youngest of three kids, being raised by a single mother. After reading the entire blog, did he send me a message telling me how sorry he was for all the turmoil I went through? Did he apologize for his part in the torture that was my childhood? Did he acknowledge and show some semblance of remorse for the abuse I suffered at his hands? NO! Even though I mentioned him maybe five times in two and a half years, instead of understanding my experience and honoring that, he sent me an e-mail to tell me how angry he was that I had slandered his name; ruined his reputation (not that anyone who read my blog had any idea who he was was) and that he couldn’t believe I had reposted an e-mail he sent to me without his permission, not that, to the best of my knowledge, I was under any obligation to do so.
I moved the blog and changed the name. I now write under the pen name I intend to use to publish my novel. (Currently in revisions, and without an agent thus far.) But it doesn’t help. My real name was used. The first names of my family and friends are all in play. There is no privacy or anonymity any more. I was lulled into a false sense of confidence after three and half years of relative safety. My book was mostly open; too far in some ways, not far enough in others.
So I’m closing the book and I’m opening a new one. This book will be fairly open, except, I’ll never again use my real name. I’ll never again use the names of my family and friends… and cat. Pseudonyms are where it’s at. This open book will be open enough that I will talk about whatever I want, be it good or bad. If I want to talk about sex, I’ll talk about sex (not that I have much to say on the subject). If I want to talk bad about someone or something, I will. If I want to talk good about someone or something, I will. I won’t worry about what other people think about what I have to say. I wish I could be that way in real life and maybe someday I will, but until then, I’ll just do it here.